Shin Splints - Causes

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What causes shin splints?

A primary culprit causing shin splints is a sudden increase in distance or intensity of a workout schedule. This increase in muscle work can be associated with inflammation of the lower leg muscles, those muscles used in lifting the foot (the motion during which the foot pivots toward the tibia). Such a situation can be aggravated by a tendency to pronate the foot (roll it excessively inward onto the arch).

Similarly, a tight Achilles tendon or weak ankle muscles are also often implicated in the development of shin splints.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Sara, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

I recently developed shin splints, mostly in my left leg. My guess as to the cause is that I just started soccer camp. I'm really out of shape, and we've been doing very intense workouts. It's progressed to the point where walking up stairs is virtually impossible because of the pain. However, my mom won't let me stop playing because she insists it will go away by itself. I'm hoping the pain will go away soon, but it seems to be increasing.

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Comment from: Dano, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 21

I have been running for about 8 years. Typically I will run a couple of miles as a warm up for my weight training at least 4 days during the week. On weekends I typically will kick that up to 4 to 6 miles per day so I'm probably running a total of 16 to 20 miles per week on average. Well, about 3 weeks ago I kicked it up another notch and ran 7 miles on Sat, then 8 miles on Sunday. Bad mistake, I got shin splints on my left side. Now nothing seems to help get rid of them. I even took 4 days off from running and it didn't help a bit. I can struggle through the first half mile or so then they seem to feel okay until the next day. But that first half mile is severe pain. One of my co-workers told me to get new shoes which I plan on trying this weekend. But, it really sucks having these. It's hard enough to talk yourself into working out 6 days a week, this just makes it harder.

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